AkzoNobel has partnered with the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) at the National University of Singapore in order to explore less costly ways of producing high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells.
The company's High Purity Metalorganics (HPMO) business is a leading supplier of electronic materials to the semiconductor and solar industries. Together with SERIS, they will now investigate how to respond to the photovoltaic industry’s desire to reduce the costs involved in moving towards more efficient cell architectures.
"Given the amount of energy needed to power our cities and society further development of renewable sources at affordable costs is high on AkzoNobel's Planet Possible approach to sustainability and is driving much of the company’s innovation," explained Werner Fuhrmann, AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee member responsible for Specialty Chemicals.
Describing the partnership, Alberto Allegro, Global Business Director for AkzoNobel's HPMO business, said: "Solar cell manufacturers are constantly balancing cost and performance. As a major supplier of some of the key raw materials involved, we're eager to look into how we can work with SERIS to keep improving solar cell efficiency."
The collaboration has been prompted by the growing expectation that the photovoltaic industry will move towards higher efficiency silicon wafer solar cell architectures.
"AkzoNobel has developed significant knowledge in this field and together with SERIS, will identify how to best reduce the total cost of ownership of solar power," added Dr Bram Hoex, director of the Silicon Materials and Cells Cluster at SERIS. "In particular, the partnership aims to explore how to produce more cost-efficient metalorganic precursor grades that will offer the kind of long-term benefits the industry is looking for."
The new precursors should offer an attractive alternative to the current commercially available metalorganics, which are designed for applications other than high-efficiency silicon wafer solar cells.
AkzoNobel's HPMO products are used in a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including lasers, solar cells, LEDs and mobile phones.